IMCA celebrates 20th anniversary

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Over 120 members and guests from home and overseas attended the reception celebrating the 20th anniversary of the International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) last week (19 May). The reception followed IMCA’s ‘Allocation of risk in challenging current market conditions’ seminar organised by the association’s Contracts & Insurance Workgroup, for which over a hundred specialists – CEOs and executives, risk managers, lawyers, consultants and insurance managers/advisers had registered.

Welcoming guests, IMCA’s Technical Director and Acting Chief Executive, Jane Bugler explained that IMCA was formed in spring 1995 through the merger of the Association of Offshore Diving Contractors (AODC, founded in 1972) and the Dynamically Positioned Vessel Owners Association (DPVOA, founded in 1990).

At its birth IMCA had around a hundred members.”I believe that the most important aspect of the last 20 years has been that IMCA has become a truly global association with now over a thousand members in more than 60 countries worldwide,” she explained.

“In addition in the process of becoming international we have developed a regional structure – with active sections in the 5 IMCA geographical regions of Asia Pacific, Central & North America, Europe and Africa, Middle East and India and South America – all of whom meet regularly and can attract over a hundred members at their meetings.

“As well as seeing a considerable grown in membership, the past 20 years has also led to a considerable growth in the recognition and use of IMCA’s wide-ranging documentation – providing good practice guidance to help other members and others to undertake safe and efficient marine operations which is picked up and used by oil companies and regulators alike,” she added.

Looking at IMCA’s activity over the past two decades, Jane Bugler highlighted a number of key achievements and ongoing initiatives:

  • Our safety flash system is used extensively in the industry to prevent recurrence of dangerous situations.
  • We have developed a wide range of good practice guidance documents – covering all the IMCA technical division – diving, marine, offshore survey and ROV – which are used extensively by our members and referenced by oil companies and regulators alike.
  • We have a competence framework which can be used by our member companies to develop their own company competence schemes.
  • We have developed a set of contracting principles to encourage an equitable contracting balance based on each party’s respective risks and rewards we run a number of workshops each year on topical issues – enabling our members to come together and discuss the issues that affect them – for instance this afternoon we held a contracts seminar on the allocation of risk in challenging current market conditions.
  • In addition we follow regulatory issues on behalf of our members and lobby governments to ensure legislation does impact negatively on their work while seeking to help maintain a fair and free market.
  • We have had observer status at the International Maritime Organization – IMO since 1999 and play an active role in their discussions as the only association at IMO representing offshore marine contracting interests. We can, and do, influence discussions by writing submissions; by attending and getting involved in debates; sitting on working groups; and by lobbying and have established good relationships with flag states so that they understand the issues that affect our members.
  • We also hold briefing sessions in areas and countries where our association is less well known to help oil companies, regulators, contractors and suppliers gain a better understanding of what IMCA is, what we provide and how our members use our services.
  • We run an annual seminar which, as well as providing an opportunity for hearing presentations on topical issues, is a powerful networking event.

“In the current economic climate it is important that IMCA remains relevant to our members and delivers value,” she explained.”We are currently undertaking a review of the management and governance of IMCA to ensure that IMCA is structured appropriately to deliver our vision and strategy so that we can to continue to provide support to our members, bring sustainability and take the marine contracting industry forward for the next 20 years.”

IMCA’s 20 years were celebrated not only by a cake, but by photographs around the room of each of the past 20 years enabling guests to take a trip down memory lane and remark on how recent some of the long-past events were, and how long ago some of the most recent seemed.

Further information

Further information on IMCA and its work on behalf of its 1000+ member companies in over 60 countries is available from and The association has LinkedIn and Facebook groups and its Twitter handle is @IMCAint

About IMCA

  • IMCA is an international association with over a thousand members in more than 60 countries representing offshore, marine and underwater engineering companies. IMCA has four technical divisions, covering marine/specialist vessel operations, offshore diving, hydrographic survey and remote systems and ROVs, plus geographic sections for the Asia-Pacific, Central & North America, Europe & Africa, Middle East & India and South America regions. As well as a core focus on safety, the environment, competence and training, IMCA seeks to promote its members’ common interests, to resolve industry-wide issues and to provide an authoritative voice for its members.
  • IMCA Vision & Strategy. As a result of work and collective input in 2013, IMCA has redefined its stated core purpose to be”Improving performance in the marine contracting industry”. To achieve this goal, IMCA’s Vision & Strategy has been devised with two elements in mind: Core activities and ways of working.
  • IMCA publishes some 200 guidance notes and technical reports – many are available for free downloading by members and non-members alike. These have been developed over the years and are extensively distributed. They are a definition of what IMCA stands for, including widely recognised diving and ROV codes of practice, DP documentation, marine good practice guidance, the Common Marine Inspection Document (CMID) – now available electronically as eCMID, safety recommendations, outline training syllabi and the IMCA competence scheme guidance. In addition to the range of printed guidance documents, IMCA also produces safety promotional materials, circulates information notes and distributes safety flashes.

About the industry IMCA serves

The marine contracting industry plays a vital global role. Its vessels account for 4% of the world’s maritime fleet. Collectively IMCA members employ some 350,000 people and have an annual turnover of around $150bn. They work in all the world’s major offshore areas, delivering large offshore oil and gas and marine renewables projects around the globe that quite literally fuel the global economy.